Joan's Blog

"Watch Me Pull A Rabbit Out Of My Hat"
JANUARY 3, 2010 12:00PM

Good-bye Again

Rate: 17 Flag

It is time for her to leave. Her flight back to the frigid Midwest is in a few hours. I feel that familiar ache in my heart.

When she left for college in September it was her father who cried. Right there in the freshman dorm room. I had done most of my crying over the summer. I cried in anticipation.

Her father and I vowed we would start doing some living now that we were alone. But that first week we ate dinner in front of the television. Jeopardy was on. I told him that this was acceptable behavior for only a few days. Or maybe when we are very, very old.

  We are learning how to live together alone again. We have eighteen years of catching up. Being Julia's parents was our favorite gig*.

Everything is just a little bit duller here when she is gone. We seem to move as if in slow motion. We are learning lessons.

 I am a slow learner.


* gig: A job that is temporary or with an uncertain future.

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I've been gigging my whole life.
I am so sorry your heart hurts. HUGS.
Oh, honey, I feel for you. I'm still at the anticipatory-crying stage. My oldest doesn't leave for another 6 months but I'm already dreading it. By the time the third one goes, I'll be a total mess. I worry about, as you eloquently say, "learning how to live together alone again." I hope you'll be gentle on yourself today.
I know the feeling. We sent three away. Those times still ache sometimes. cy
@Chuck, I hear you. Thank you for stopping by. please, oh I needed that hug!

@Lisa, it is really (for me) like learning to walk. Thank you so much for your good wishes. I will look forward to that post of yours in 6 months...
It seems the world moves a little slower when out kids leave the nest. But it will start spinning faster in no time. Like is a constant change!
Beautifully expressed, Joan.
I'm an anticipatory crier, too. Hope your pain eases once she goes, and that you settle into a new rhythm in her absence.
This won't happen to me because I long ago struck a deal with my kid.

Should he ever discover a place out there which offers more hope and happiness than this one....

he has to take me with him.

terrific piece.
@thanks, scanner. I hope you are right.

@Owl, thank you so much.

@NoisyNora, "An anticipatory crier." That is the perfect way to describe me. Wonderful.
@angus, that is a great idea, but my kid said "no". Thank you for stopping by.
Life is just one big gig.
It takes time. Be patient with yourselves. Plan a date one night a week to get into the swing.
What Chuck said. A musician hardly ever turns down a gig... no matter how temporary. I have a 13 year-old who will be leaving for college in what amounts to just a few years. I haven't worked out yet how I feel about that. Part of me aches to return to my own life, but the other part (the bigger part) knows that she become just too much of it.
@skeletnwmn, If I could embroider i would embroider that on something. thanks

@AtHomePilgrim, good advice, and it sure beats watching Jeopardy. thanks

@Jeff, thanks for the wise words. It's a good gig, isn't it?
I'm in the middle of sophomore year, which has been easier than freshman year. But the big difference? This summer I got a puppy. Don't laugh -- well, it's ok, go ahead and laugh -- but it helped. I also like the idea of date night -- don't expect every day to be full of new fun and intimacy with your husband, start with just one! And good luck! This is just about all I posted about on OS the year my daughter left, and the advice of people here -- including, it hurts like hell, and it will for a while -- was invaluable.
Joan. A puppy is brilliant. Getting that unconditional love... What could be better? Thank you for stopping by.
My son's flight back to L.A. leaves tomorrow afternoon. We only see him twice a year. Every time he leaves, I re-enact the way I cried when he left for college 15 years ago. I can't stop being a mother despite the pain -- and I don't want to try.
Oh, Joan, I so get this. When my youngest son (my BABY!) left for college, I couldn't go to the grocery store without bursting into tears. I would reach for something that I always bought for him ... and then I'd remember. He's not there. Then I would have to leave the store because I couldn't stop crying.

It does get better, really it does. But it takes time. And tears.

Great post! Rated.
Don't be a Jeopardy hater! It's just that I watch it while making dinner!
cyclopic, I missed your comment the first time. 3 times you did this????? wow.
@Donna, it obviously never gets easier...

@Thank you so much Kathy

@Unbreakable, I really have done the same thing.

AtHomePilgrim, I'm just sayin'...
I hope the time will fly quickly in btwn visits, Joan. :o(
Thank you, rebelmom. Come over and cook for me!
How soon? Man, I can't tell you how much I want to come over!!
YES! "Being Julia's parents was our favorite gig."

Been a journey for me navigating the transition from 24/7 mom to mom with daughter in college and soon to be married...there is joy in letting go and seeing my daughter succeed in life - but also a wistfulness. In the first year she was at college, as a terminally single mom, I had to keep reminding myself I could have a real single life again. I did nothing for a year but came home at night to the cats and dog. I'm still working on getting a life after being mom 24/7...maybe you and your husband should plan movie and dinner dates...I can so relate to this post...R
The empty nest thing seems to be a bag of emotions with the top left open. I often wonder what my wife and I'll do when our only child flies off. Cry, leap for joy, leap for joy while crying???
As usual, concise and very well written.
Unfortunately, time moves on.
Things never stay the same.
And we must accept these changes.
It's a tough one, isn't it? The empty nest. Sounds like you've had just the one daughter like me. If they are safe and healthy where they are, they are learning to spread their wings. Now we have to learn to spread our again.
Joan, first a very warm hug to you. I also know the pain of parting and the joy of reuniting. It's probably easier to move in slow motion with a supportive partner.
It is hard, sometimes very hard. But.... it is so so so so cool to see who they start to really become - what they study - what groups they join.... so cool. But yes, college is hard on parents.
My daughter is a few years from it. I may feel differently when it happens ... but I am sooooo.... looking forward to it. The reason is that when Joan's on her own, I won't need to deal with her mother ... and that will let some healing start on that front ... I hope.

Those of you who have working marriages when the kids are gone ... a blessing you should savor in and of itself.
Will, thank you for the kind and seriously wise words. You've got it right.